Eriksson calls for winter break

Eriksson, now manager of Leicester, led England to the

quarter-finals of three major tournaments during his time at the

helm of the national side between 2001 and 2006, but feels the

demands of the English league programme are hampering hopes of real

success. “It’s more difficult for England than other countries to

do well in a big tournament,” Eriksson told The Daily Telegraph.

“You have to have a break. You need to give every Premier League

player seven days away to fly to wherever they want. They can have

sunshine, relax and then one week of preparation and then start

again. “Owen Hargreaves was the fittest [in tests prior to the 2002

World Cup] because he had the long winter break [with Bayern

Munich]. “UEFA did medical research into injuries in the big

leagues in Europe from March 1 to the end of the season. England

were higher with injuries than anyone else [by four to one]. “You

don’t learn, because the Premier League want games to be played all

the time. So people can watch it everywhere.” The Swede added: “The

expectations on England are too high. Before the big tournaments

start, the expectation with England builds up and up and up, and

you are more or less world champions before you have kicked a ball.

“I don’t know whether it is to do with ’66, but you build the

players up too much.”